To enhance the governance related to the Group-wide quality management, the quality issues have been shared all across the Group and the preventive measures have been implemented and strengthened.
The preventive measures have been implemented successfully. As a result, quality mindset and the level of its quality management of the Group have been improved.
To prevent the recurrence of quality issues, we will continue to work on further improving quality management, incorporating the preventive measures with relevant daily work.
Also, we will pursue proactive quality management, as announced in the Medium-term Management Strategy recently, to prevent producing out-of-specification products.
We have declared November 1 to be our Group-wide Quality Review Day so that the quality issues that occurred in 2017 will not be forgotten and the same issue will not occur again.
This is an opportunity to review quality issues by watching a video message from the president and a video of lessons learned from the series of quality issues. It is also a chance to verify that the products and services provided to customers at each site do not have quality issues.
We have also taken various initiatives, including the verification of corrective action for customer complaints and a review of our standards and specifications.
We also created exhibition panels showing how the quality issues occurred and the voices of customers as well as a lesson learned video. We have put them on permanent display in the Saitama Office, in our efforts to prevent the quality issues from being forgotten.
We operate in accordance with the “Fundamental Quality Provisions at Mitsubishi Materials Group” in order to enhance governance relating to quality.
Under the quality provisions, we have established a Group-wide "Quality Policy" that aims to provide first-class products and to obtain customer satisfaction, and established and operate the "Quality Control Guidelines at Mitsubishi Materials Group" to complement the Group Quality Policy.
We have established and are striving to maintain our quality management, from design and development to production, shipping and sales, for all organizations involved in quality improvement of products and services provided by us.
We handle a wide variety of products at the domestic and overseas sites of our Group companies, and it is important to share the information related to quality management.
Therefore, a regular Group-wide meeting is held for quality representatives at each Group company site.
At this meeting, the Quality Management Dept. of the Governance Div. provides and shares the latest information on our quality.
Participants can then share examples of improvement at each site and hold group discussions on specific topics.
The purpose is to deepen the understanding of quality representatives and bring back the shared information and the outcomes from discussion to each site to enable further improvements.
We have also set up a Quality Liaison Conference comprised of the persons in charge of quality from the Quality Management Dept. of the Governance Division, each in-house company, and others, in our efforts to enhance our governance.
At the quality liaison conference, the progress and status of quality training, quality audits, the automation of testing equipment, and quality initiatives at each in-house company, including Group companies, are reported. The necessary information is then shared by participants.
Moreover, as necessary, Quality Meetings are held to share the information on quality
At the Quality Meetings, details of support are individually presented, such as confirming / discussing with sites the status of quality management and measures to enhance governance related to quality.
The Quality Audits as a part of the Theme Audits led by the Internal Audit Dept. are conducted.
The purpose of the quality audit is to confirm by objective evidence that there is no quality fraud and that effective quality management is implemented. It also aims to identify issues and improvements related to quality, and to provide an opportunity for the audited sites to make continuous improvements.
Given the reflection that Group-wide crisis sharing was not working with a poor sense of ownership when the quality issues occurred, quality training is conducted for each level of younger employees, middle employees and managers, to continue to change their mindset on quality.
The quality management system (QMS) based on ISO 9001 is fundamental to our quality management and quality assurance.
ISO9001 internal auditor training is conducted regularly for newly appointed auditors.
We also have a plan to roll out a new training courses for experienced internal auditors to maintain and improve their auditing skill and capabilities.
Our Metalworking Solutions Company has 12 manufacturing sites in Europe, the United States and Asia, which manufacture high quality products in conjunction with our domestic sites. To accommodate production expansion at overseas sites, we have continued efforts to dispatch technical instructors from domestic sites and accept overseas trainees in Japan to train them on equipment maintenance, production technologies, inspection criteria and so on.
This initiative over a number of years has resulted in spontaneous activities by local employees overseas, e.g. kaizen (improvement) meetings and reviews of QC systems. Their motivation to acquire new skills and technologies is driving improvements in quality. Also, electronic components business, a part of Advanced Products Company, was expanded to Southeast Asia early and has transferred the production to the region.
Today, in Southeast Asia, we have a total of five manufacturing sites of subsidiaries and subcontractors dedicated to the business, and have worked closely with the domestic ceramics plant as the “mother plant” to develop a business scheme.
With the shift of most production capacity overseas, quality improvement activities at overseas manufacturing sites grow increasingly important.
In particular, to reduce the number of customer complaints about product quality, we need to promote information sharing between sites and raise the quality control capabilities at overseas manufacturing sites to the same level as, or higher than, those at domestic sites.
Therefore, to change overseas employees’ mindset and raise their skill level, we hold online meetings and other meetings in a timely manner in addition to regular meetings for quality managers and persons in charge of quality.
In these meetings, participants share initiatives and issues for quality improvement at each site and discuss solutions to issues.
As a manufacturer, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, high quality products. We therefore implement a range of quality and safety initiatives, as a precautionary approach and to ensure compliance with the law and other applicable regulations. We have also developed a set of regulations for the control of hazardous chemical substances contained in our products. As well as ensuring that we do not release any products containing hazardous substances to customers, including via group companies, we are committed to disclosing product information when deemed necessary.
We make every effort to guarantee safety when transporting products that require additional safety measures in transit, such as sulfuric acid. Specific measures include ➀ avoiding contact with other substances, ➁ using protective equipment when loading and unloading products, ➂ preventing leaks or dispersal from containers, and ➃ providing drivers with SDS clearly outlining measures in the event of an accident.
Providing safety information on our own products is vitally important, to ensure product safety further along the supply chain. We therefore attach Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to Mitsubishi Materials products so as to effectively disclose and convey information on chemical substances.
We have formulated a set of regulations for the control of hazardous chemical substances contained in our products, and continue to reinforce management and ensure legal compliance in relation to chemical substances contained in our products. We successfully completed registration of 13 substances covered under REACH regulations*¹ by September 2017. Currently, we maintain and manage 13 substances. We are also working to establish systems to ensure compliance with chemical substance-related legislation and regulations in markets such as South Korea and Taiwan, as well as to collect information and develop further systems to maintain compliance in other countries in the future. We submitted our 2018 notification for substances covered under the revised Chemical Substances Control Law*² in June 2019. We provide group companies with the latest information through Quality Committee meetings and quality meetings, and give them advice on compliance with all applicable legislation.
*1 REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and R estriction of Chemicals): EU regula tion that governs the registra tion, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances manufactured within or imported into the EU.
*2 Revised Chemical Substances Control Law: Act on the Partial Revision of the Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc.
We carry out a review during R&D at four key stages, when exploring areas of R&D, conducting R&D and trial production, conducting mass production trials, and commercializing products. We repeatedly confirm and meticulously examine all of our products from the very beginning, including checking for the use of hazardous chemical substances, guaranteeing that products meet customers’ requirements and ensuring legal compliance, always taking into consideration the safety of products and processes as we engage in development works.